Simplified: Everything you need to know about Sunderland's 2018-19 Checkatrade Trophy campaign
League One and Two teams all over the country are preparing to test their wits against some of the Premier League's finest youngsters.
The rules of the Checkatrade Trophy can be a confusing one for all those concerned, but here is everything you need to know in a simplified form.
Who are the Premier League teams included?
Sixteen clubs from the top-flight will help form 16 groups of four.
They are: Arsenal, Brighton and Hove Albion, Chelsea, Everton, Fulham, Manchester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Leicester City, Southampton, Stoke City, Swansea City, Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham United, West Bromwich Albion and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
What are the basic rules?
Under 23 teams must start at least six players aged 21 or under (before June 30, 2018), however those teams are allowed to field two over aged players who have made 40+ senior appearances.
For EFL clubs, there aren’t many restrictions. In fact, they are now allowed to field players out on loan at National League clubs.
How do you progress to the knockout stage?
The group stage is split into a Northern and Southern section with each overseeing eight groups.
Each team in each group, which includes at least one League One or Two team, will play each other once. The top two then qualify for the knockout stage.
Should the game be drawn, each team will be awarded a point before a penalty shootout determines who earns the bonus point.
When does the Northern and Southern divide stop?
The sections are removed after the round of 32 stage, meaning clubs who reach last 16 can face anyone left in the competition.
Clubs will receive Â£20,000 for taking part - a win in the group stage earns you Â£10,000 while a draw earn you Â£5,000. Winning the final at Wembley Stadium earns your side Â£100,000.
Last 32: Â£20k for a win
Last 16: Â£40k for a win
Quarter Final: Â£50k for a win